Article IV: Of the Resurrection of Christ

5 Responses

  1. Matt Gunter says:


    Thanks for this and for this series. Great idea. It seems to me that the most fruitful and faithful territory lies somewhere between “he popped back to life just as he was before” and it was merely a spiritual or metaphorical reality.

    Jesus rose bodily, we are told, but the resurrection body is transfomed/transfigured into something beyond what it was.

    Here is my take, which may sound rigid to some:

    And a stab at why it matters:

  2. Scott Gunn says:


    Agreed on all counts. In my post, I was responding to the language of the Article which, it seems to me, overstates the same-ness of the body of Jesus Christ after his resurrection and before it.

    Now, as you say, I think the truth of it must be more complex than that. Jesus surely didn’t just start living again in his same body. How else would one explain the times he was not recognized or his supernatural appearances inside locked rooms? And surely he was not brought back to some kind of spiritual life absent a real body. This latter claim would contradict the scriptures as well — and undercut the very faith we proclaim.

    So let’s agree that Jesus was raised to new life. In a body. And yet that body — that new life — was somehow different from his body and his life before the resurrection.

    As to why it matters, it’s because “Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life”.

    Thanks for your comment. Please do stop by again.


  3. Roo says:

    Thanks Scott – I always understood the Resurrection body in the context of 1 Corinthians 15?


  4. Scott Gunn says:


    Yes, indeed. I wish the Article had just incorporated 1 Cor 15 by reference.


  5. Bob Chapman says:

    We have the latest Psalter Hymnal in this household. In trying to plough (spelling intentional) through the various Reformed statements of faith in the back of it is very tiresome. Everything is footnoted. Everything is explained. There is no room for exploration or to take them as your own. You are told what to believe.

    The 39 Articles, while based upon Scripture and theological thought, are declarative statements. They allow for the types of discussion being fostered in this series. Each of us gets to figure out what each believes. It is good not to include 1 Corinthians 15 by reference.

    As a friend told me that (1) Luther figured out theology with friends over beer, (2) Calvin figured out theology in his study with wine, and (3) Anglican figured out their theology in Parliament. While this is a good place to insert a joke about Anglican theology, authority, and practice, there is something good to say about this: we are much more accommodating to variant thoughts on the same subject. The 39 Articles were written that way so as to make it through Parliament.

    The statements of confessional-based denominations, like the Lutheran and Reformed bodies, lack room to grow in grace and understanding while holding to the intended meanings of the Augustana, Dordt, and so forth. (You probably can guess my feelings about the Anglican Covenant at this point.)

    About passing through walls and scientific thought: The professor I had for an Atomic and Nuclear Physics course in college was an Episcopalian. Once, when answer a question from someone about the space between various particles and their vibration (a subject which came not long after Easter that semester), the professor said, “If you could make the molecules in your body vibrate at the right rate, you could pass right through that wall.” When he said this last statement (“you could pass…”), he looked directly at me–even though someone else asked the question he was answering. I think at that point the professor really was answering the rector of the local parish and his inability to accept certain parts of scripture, as stated in sermons.